Today is a short yet important b2b sales tip on how to use Google Alerts for information about your Customers and Prospects. And, the only investment to you is your time to set them up. Google does not charge you to set up Alerts.
First, let’s cover what you can cover using Google Alerts…
- Key Officers of Customers or Prospects
- Their Company
- Primary Industry News
- Your Company
From my point of view, these are the big five to track. These five will give you important news found on the Internet. Personally, I track all five and find it to be very helpful. So what are you looking for within each category…
- Key Officers of Customers or Prospects – Here you are looking for any breaking news whereby your contact is mentioned in a story, blog or article. You can use these quotes as a reason to contact the person and show them you are looking after their best interest – including knowing what they are doing. It makes relationship points.
- Their Company – This is important if you need to know about plant closures or opening, financial results, stock price movements, any types of new product announcements, promotions, new hires in critical positions, and possible legal actions against the company. This information allows you to feel more like an insider who is getting daily or weekly updates on the companies you follow. Again, this allows you to be current about your customer or prospect companies and its shows you are doing your homework before showing up for an appointment or call. This is critical for your credibility.
- Primary Industry News – Here you are looking for two things – Trends and Competitor activities. Understanding the power of trends within an industry can give you an inside track regarding recommendations, pricing power, and which direction the overall health of the industry – even the merger and acquisitions activity within the industry. Is the consolidation of the industry allowing one company to dominate the industry? These are the questions to be answered.
- Your Company – Be current on your own company so you are rarely surprised by a customer or prospect statement or question about your company. The other issue to watch for regarding your own company is whether or not a group or individual is spreading negative information or rumors about your company. These things cannot be ignored in today’s Internet community or they may become viral and infect the brains of your prospects or customers. The key for you if this happens is to answer the issue question honestly without becoming defensive and most people will write it off as just media hype or a misunderstanding going too far.
- You – Yes, you should know what is being said about you. It also gives you a chance to find out what a customer or prospect will read if they Google your name. Take a position of knowledge and know in advance what people will find. Due to my business I keep alerts on my name, yet, I also Google my name once a month just to make certain Google is indexing the current information posted plus I want to see what a client or potential client will find. This way your outside efforts will be documented and referenced for others.
Finally, in setting up your Google Alerts use either “x” (x being the name) or [x] for exact matches. Otherwise, you will get parts of the name – out of order – that are not helpful and just jam up your email.
Use this information to differentiate yourself from the thundering herd of b2b sales people calling on your accounts. And, use the industry trends and competitor information to have open dialogues with your customers or prospects regarding things or strategies to help them win more business.